Galway, Ireland

Oh goodness, writing a poem made me feel so much better. I haven’t been able to write much this month – I think the last poem I wrote was at the beginning of this trip, near a month ago. I love how the writing of a poem can mean such closure for me – as though I can close a door after putting my pain into prose.

Tonight we are in Galway, where we just returned from a pub-hopping four hours where we attempted to find live music. We succeeded in finding it, but along with it came pubs so crowded we could not move, and plenty of sketchy men. It made me wonder whether Lisdoonvarna was really any worse than any other pub on a Saturday night. However, the music we did find was wonderful, with a fiddle, guitar, and accordion, so that made the evening much more complete. That, along with the delicious crepe I had prior to the pubs.

Tomorrow, we head to Limerick, where we spend our last two nights of the trip. Here’s hoping they go well and we end the trip on a high note. I’m not looking forward to figuring out the airport, since Kara leaves at seven in the morning, and I leave at one in the afternoon, and five hours extra in an airport does not sit well with me. I might just have to cough up the extra dough for a taxi, methinks.

There is no doubt in my mind I will be returning here, to Ireland. I just need to remind myself of that. It will make the departure from this beautiful place a bit more bearable.

There’s just such magic here. However, I need to remind myself that the magic is everywhere – it’s merely a matter of living moments as they arrive, and entering the flow of the world around us. I know half my reader’s brains shut off when I start getting all metaphysical and such, but I’m only relaying concepts I believe to be true, and which mean very much to me. Life, and the landscapes within it, has a natural and beautiful flow.

When we enter into the rhythm of the earth’s heartbeat, magical things happen.

It just seems that in Ireland, magical things happen all the time. ☺

Franklin, Tennessee

So the craziest thing that’s happened to me this entire trip happened the other day, in Franklin, Tennessee. Franklin is a quaint, artsy, economically flourishing town about an hour outside of Nashville. I went into town with Kelly, to have lunch with her husband on their 21st wedding anniversary (woot woot for staying together!). So we had this amazing picnic that Kelly made, sitting on the grass at Forth Granger, an old army fort that was used during the civil war.

Afterwards, Kelly and I went to The Factory, which is an old factory building that was fixed up and now houses lots of local artists’ work, as well as cute artsy stores and restaurants. It’s a pretty amazing place, and there were so many things I wanted. We went to visit a friend of Kelly’s who is a painter/artist there, but her old location was now being vacated by Native American artists with some beautiful pieces of jewelry, etc. So as Kelly talked with her friend at her new store location, I wandered back to the Native American work, where I was drawn eventually to the flutes they had there (ever since I almost bought that flute in Cherokee, I’ve wondered whether I made the right choice by passing it up).

Well, I was looking at the flute, and noticed a familiar symbol – the wolf’s paw located at the towards the end of the flute. I look at the woman, and ask if the flute was one of Mr. Barfoot’s, to which she replied, “Yeah, Mark’s just down the hall making a phone call.”

He was there. I turned and saw a row of other flutes on a stand, and there she was: my mulberry flute with sleeping beauty turquoise. I couldn’t believe it.

I had traveled for two weeks and hundreds of miles since Cherokee, North Carolina, and yet here was the flute I had left behind and thought about every day since. In a random town in central Tennessee.

Needless to say, the flute is now mine. 🙂


Knoxville, Tennessee

There is more to say than I could possibly share with you.

The past few days have been just wonderful, filled with music and conversation and everything inspiring and true.

Knoxville was great; Scott and Laura were so much fun. There were the four dogs, who were just ridiculous- Po (white trash), Billie, Miles, and … I forgot the last one’s name. Miles was the licker. He licked and licked and would probably lick until his tongue came off. For an OCD-tendency individual like myself, this was hard to handle. However, Miles ended up being my favorite of the four, with his black hair and adorable face. His licking was atrocious, though, and although he eventually learned that it freaked me out and left me alone a bit more, he still managed to learn the art of the drive-by lick, where he would casually, happily trot on by, and surreptitiously lick my leg. Hahahah, drive-by lickings. Too ridiculous.

The other day I met up with this guy, Zach, from couch-surfing, who ended up being a really great guy. He showed me around the University of Tennessee campus, talked a lot about sports and 80’s music, haha, and it was nice to spend the day walking and talking with him.

The night before I had to leave, we all went to a sushi bar where Scott was playing with his buddy, Dave. So Laura and I had yummy sushi (my second time ever) and listened to the band play until late into the night. It was fantastic to watch Scott perform – it was a completely different, yet just as authentic and real, side of him, and he was really quite charming and dynamic. He played the harmonica and the saxophone, and sang wonderfully. His buddy, Dave, was the acoustic guitarist… and he was incredible. Let me tell you, he sang a Tom Waits song called “Picture in a Frame” that basically had me on the floor. Which reminds me, I was able to “borrow” a bunch of awesome music from Scott’s external hard drive, and pass a lot of great stuff back along to him. I have more music than I possibly know what to do with now – over 11,000 songs on my ITunes.

So, all in all, my stay in Knoxville with Scott and Laura was absolutely wonderful. It was so hard to believe that these people would have remained strangers for the entirety of my life, had I not been open to the whole couch-surfing experience. I thank my friends who encouraged me to look into it, and I thank everything good in this world that all has gone well on this crazy trip of mine. It truly has been magical.

There is no way I can begin to share everything with you. I almost feel like giving up, just because I’m overwhelmed with the concept of writing all that needs to be written.

After Knoxville, I headed to Nashville. Oh, Nashville.

Nashville Nashville Nashville.

But that’s a whole other story, and I’ll save that for the morning. 🙂

heart full of holes

” It’s a wonder to me –
I still don’t understand
why I ever survived to be old
with a heart full of holes
A heart full of holes
A heart full of holes”

– Mark Knopfler

Is Mark Knopfler a genius? Basically. And his music makes my heart go thump-thump, so slow and peaceful I could cry.

There’s another one of his songs, “Baloney Again”, that slays me every time I hear it:

“Go under the willow
Park her up beside the stream
Shoulders for pillows
Lay down your head and dream”

And it’s not just the lyrics – it’s the way he plays, the way he sings- as though there are cobwebs laced with dreams on his fingertips, and cotton-honey melodies in his mouth.

Random, yes, but it’s two in the morning and I can’t help myself.

Heart full of holes, eh? Like a sieve, slowly leaking love. Constantly being filled back up, by the self, by others, by the world… but constantly losing love by the second. I suppose if one carefully and honestly walks the earth, though, the love will merely sink into the soil and be redistributed to the world.

So a heart full of holes may not be that dreadful a case, after all.

Perhaps it would simply make us part of the process.


” All my yesterdays broken
a watch with no face
all battered and old
Bits of the movement
all over the place
and a heart full of holes
A heart full of holes
A heart full of holes”

Wild Wing Cafe, Savannah

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

– The Velveteen Rabbit

Wasn’t going to write tonight, but figured that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be remaining honest to myself. Or to you.

The truth is, I’m relatively blue tonight (at least at the moment), which is probably a mix of drinking more than I usually drink (which doesn’t take much), being overwhelmed by slightly crazy people, and having my predominant insecurities careened back to the forefront of my heart.

Of course, it would be ridiculous to believe that I could just get in my car and drive, and magically leave all those things behind.

So I’m being honest here and writing a not-so- happy blog post. I don’t think I’m going to get in to much depth here; in fact, this could potentially be the last paragraph of the entry. I’m just trying to keep the whole thing real.

And the honest truth is that I had a wonderful night. It was amazing to spend time with Sarah – she really is a beautiful person and I felt closer to her than I have in my life. We went to Savannah, with all it’s squares and it’s history, and we hung out with and watched an amazing band, and I danced and laughed, and overall it was quite enjoyable.

I’m honestly not going to get into the things that are bumming me out right now – mostly because I’m so tired of talking about them. Furthermore, it seems that whenever I talk about them, I invariably find myself defending and rationalizing myself and my feelings, and I’m far too tired of doing such things.

So I will sit here with my feelings, nurturing them gently, because I’m tired of voicing them only to be momentarily placated by people’s kind words. Honestly – until I can hold myself as delicately as I hold others, and treat myself with that same respect, then this journey is only mine to take.

Good people, though. Man oh man. The band’s percussionist was this big teddy bear of a black guy, all cuddly and chocolate. He made me happy just to look at him. Whenever I got the opportunity to speak and joke with him, it was as though my heart was all happy. I keep thinking back on him, and his amazing talents on the bongo drums, and reminding myself that beautiful people and beautiful moments are definitely still ahead of me. I will persevere.

Oh yeah, and it’s currently 4:44 A.M.

Hilton Head, 3:30 AM

“We’re running around in circles; I’m chasing you.”

– Chris Bruno

The highlight of my day today was going for a walk (no, the walk itself was not the highlight, keep reading), in an attempt to take pictures, and instead getting my foot sucked into a boggy-ish swampy thing and losing my shoe. I was on the phone at the time, so freaked a little, hung up, and wondered what to do next.

I really like that shoe. It’s a sandal but a sneaker and it’s a skecher but more than that, it’s a…

Well, regardless, the next thing I knew I was on the ground, in my pretty blue dress, reaching my arm all the way down into a puddle of suction cup-like swampland. Perhaps not my most graceful moment, but it eventually got the job done.

I was glad to have my shoe back, but correspondingly covered in mud.

I decided to walk towards the beach, where I had been heading anyhow, figuring I could use one of the beach showers to clean up. Little did I realize it was happy hour, and the entire island population could apparently be found at The Tiki Hut, which was located directly in front of the showers.

Again, not my proudest moment.

It was all made worth it, however, by the two adorable children who looked at me and stepped aside from the showers, saying “oh, you need this more than us!” and continued to hold down the button so I could clean myself off. Then while I was washing my foot, the little boy said “I like your necklace,” which was a bit surprising coming from a young boy, but a compliment nonetheless. Then he started talking to me about this hermit crab he found, and I assured him that I could manage the button-pressing while he ran off to retrieve the little guy. At that moment, I knew a bunch of people from the beach bar were looking at the mess I had made of myself, but I didn’t care, since two beautiful children were sharing a moment with me.

Afterwards, I finally took a few beach pictures, then walked out towards the water a bit and received a phone call. It was from my mother’s cousin, Lisa, who lives in Georgia and wanted to talk about the possibility of me visiting her. I’ve only met her a couple times in my life, but we talked for over 30 minutes, and now I’m all giddy about spending time with her in the Georgia mountains, where they have property.

I decided to confront The Tiki Bar head on, and returned to purchase a drink. Yes, a drink. I figured I was on the beach, at Hilton Head, on an island, with sand and music and seagulls – I should order a drink. Of course, I knew no one, until the waitress recognized me from Sarah’s introduction the other day, and she made me feel more comfortable and put in a drink order. As she walked away, I noticed… okay, I noticed a delicious guy. At first I figured he was just the typical beach bod asshole, but then I noticed the group of friends he was sitting with – a silly, slightly awkward group, who definitely had plenty of signs hinting towards dorkiness and perhaps even intelligence. I tried being surreptitious, probably failing miserably, and eventually decided to simply sit somewhere near his table and look at my pictures.

As I turned on my camera, however, the only girl at the table made a comment about what a nice camera I had, then hit her boyfriend as he proceeded to stare, which is apparently rude if you’re from Indiana – which they were! Haha, that last line sounds even more ridiculous if you could hear the way I said it in my head. Thank goodness this isn’t a video blog.

Anyhow… before I know it, I’m invited to join their table. I was especially convinced when yummy boy smiled and patted the chair beside him.

Overall, I was proud of myself for putting myself out there, and encouraged by the actions of others to start believing in humanity once more.

And really sad that somehow in the shuffle of saying goodbye, I lost yummy boy. Alas, life goes on.

Ob-la-di. Ob-la-da.

I recovered from the loss of yumminess and quirky smiles and adorable sunglasses and rumply hair, and made it over to Wild Wings, where Sarah was working all day and night. It ended up being an enjoyable evening. The band that was playing, the Lloyd Dobler Effect (lloyddoblereffect.com), was a*m*a*z*i*n*g, and I was fine with admiring them from afar, but in the end we all ended up laughing and hugging, and I’m going down to Savannah tomorrow with Sarah to watch them play again.

I don’t know… I’ve listened to a lot of mediocre bands in my time (haha, i’m such a grandma), but very few of them actually connect strongly with me. This band – their lyrics, from the very start, were just beautiful (they worked ‘innocence’ and ‘decadence’ – I mean really now). The lyrics were poignant, and they were poetry, and I couldn’t help but admire their ability, through both words and vocal effect, to take the soul someplace else, even if only for a moment.

I’m a dork. And I’m thinking there isn’t a single person in that bar tonight who would be like “dude, exactly man” to what I just said, but I’m still standing behind it. 😛

Plus, on top of their delicious music, they were GOOD people. As in – GENUINE, and authentic, and humorous, and cuddly. Okay, I don’t know if they were actually cuddly, but it’s a good supposition to make.

It’s 3:30 in the A.M.

Enough of this madness.


“She walked into my life last night
Then she walked out just about half past three.
Though it was innocent and decadent, I must confess
Sometimes these things are never meant to be.

There ain’t nothing like a stranger looking out for you
To make you feel like you’re at home.
And ain’t it something when she’s someone sweet and beautiful
And you don’t spend the night alone.”

– Phil Kominski